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3 Reasons Why MRI Should Replace CT for Whole Body Screening

Advancements in technology and the implementation of electrical engineering into medicine have optimized the way physicians and health care professionals diagnose and treat their patients. These gains have resulted in medical devices and medical imaging techniques that are used in widespread across the world. The two most commonly used medical imaging techniques and screening machines are the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and the computed tomographic (CT) scan.

MRIs and CT scans are similar, yet different in the way they are used. Both imaging techniques are used to capture images within the body. MRIs, however, use radio waves, whereas CT scans use X-rays. Both are designed to perform the same function, but there are aspects to MRIs that make them superior.

What is an MRI?

An MRI is a technique of medical imaging that uses radio waves generated by computer and a magnetic field to view organs and tissues inside the body in a detailed manner. Detailed, multi-angled three-dimensional (3D) images are produced. To conduct an MRI, the patient lies inside the MRI machine, and from there, the water molecules in their body are temporarily realigned by the magnetic field. The lining up of the patient’s hydrogen atoms creates the energy needed to make detailed images. Medical imaging is done this way because this technique is less invasive compared to others, while being effective in allowing doctors to examine a patient in order to make diagnoses. While MRIs are most commonly used to examine the brain and spinal cord, they can be used for examining the heart and blood vessels, kidneys, spleen, liver, ovaries and uterus, prostate, and bones and joints.

MRI scans provide doctors with detailed images that enable them to detect tumors and abnormalities of internal organs. Conducting MRIs allow doctors to diagnose and evaluate traumatic brain injuries, disorders of the spinal cord, bone infections, and strokes, among other problems. MRIs that focus on organs and tissues are effective, but a non-invasive full body MRI scan can be conducted using the revolutionary, artificial intelligence (AI) backed technology of Ezra. Full body MRIs can screen a patient’s body in its entirety to detect cancer in the brain, thyroid, breasts, pancreas, and more.

What is a CT Scan?

A CT scan is a technique of medical imaging in which images are created of the inside of a patient’s body, by using X-ray equipment. Computer-generated images are produced that display the patient’s insides two dimensionally (2D) and three dimensionally (3D). CT scans are most widely used to diagnose cancer, but can also be used to diagnose and examine spinal conditions, coronary artery disease, kidney issues, head injuries, and skeletal injuries. To conduct a CT scan, patients lie still on a table that passes through an X-ray machine. In some cases, patients are given a contrast dye of barium or iodine to make internal tissues in the body more visible in images. The dye may be administered to the patient intravenously or orally.

Which imaging method is better?

While both methods of imaging have been useful in the medical field, there are aspects of MRIs that make them superior to CT scans. The advantages of MRIs substantiate the notion that full body MRIs should be the primary method of medical imaging, and replace CT scans. 

One advantage to MRIs is that they are safer. MRIs use radio waves to capture images, unlike CT scans which use X-rays. The use of X-rays in CT scans can expose patients to radiation. Even if the radiation exposure is low, patients could end up having health complications or have an increased likelihood for developing problems with their skin, or even cancer caused by the exposure to radiation soon after the scan or in the future. Another advantage to MRIs is that they do not require patients to ingest contrast dye. In some cases, patients have had bad reactions to injected or consumed contrast dye following a CT scan that have resulted in hives on the skin, shortness of breath, and/or throat swelling. Lastly, MRIs are advantageous because the images they produce are more detailed compared to images resulting from CT scans. MRIs use a machine that captures images by using the body composition of the patient; full body MRI scans capture every detail in the body. 

MRIs that scan the full body are non-invasive and provide accurate images that enable doctors to make accurate diagnoses, all while keeping patients safe.

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